Can you drive a Land Rover Discovery Sport to Hell?


You join me here at the start of this car review reminiscing on my Wednesday. In theory, this Wednesday just passed should have been the day that I myself passed, because the newspapers said so. It was the day that the first ‘massive’ weather event of the season was due here in the UK, and the tabloids were preparing us for our final hours. An indication as to the incoming threat of this death-bringer – named ‘Ali’ – was outlined by the tabloids who had felt the need to emphasise the danger we faced by publishing some descriptive words in full capital letters.



Of course, anyone who’s British knows that up until a couple of years ago, the occasional day of bad weather didn’t get given a nice name and almost certainly wasn’t going to result in the demise of our civilisation. These days were called ‘rainy’ or ‘windy’ or if things were particularly nasty, ‘stormy’.

Outside in the garden the grass was wet, so Ali had definitely begun his/her mission to end us all, however, today was the only day of the week where I could go out to test and photograph the Land Rover Discovery Sport we’ve had in here at Synergy. This meant that I was going to have to head out into the maelstrom and bravely risk my life, meaning this review is really a story about how I drove the Land Rover Discovery Sport to ‘HELL’.



As it turned out, ‘HELL’ ended up being a little place in the Howardian Hills here in Yorkshire. You can reach it using the B1248, which, we now know to be passable even in the middle of ‘SAVAGE’ conditions -thanks to my incredible courage.

About a mile or two outside of my destination – a ruined Priory that, in the tabloid world, represented the state of things to come – I came across a branch that had fallen into the road. The branch, about 2ft long and still showing a few leaves – was causing traffic chaos. Cars had two options – drive around it, or drive with wheels placed either side of it. As I was in the Discovery Sport, there was a third option -drive right over it. With barely a bump, the life-threatening obstacle had been dispatched, and that was as dramatic as the drive got.

Given what the Discovery Sport is trained for, a discarded slice of tree is hardly going to trouble it. Land Rover’s ‘Terrain Response’ system works out exactly what individual parts of the car need to do to haul you through the terrain you find yourself on, and then there’s Hill Descent Control and even a Wading Sensor. Trust me when I say, a glorified twig on a Yorkshire B-road is nothing to your Land Rover. It can deal with the majority of Earth’s terrain and carry 7-people while it does it.

At the Priory, the rain had stopped. The reality driving of Hell was far different to what I expected – it was smooth, relaxing and simple. Nothing had caused the Discovery Sport any trouble, so nothing had troubled me. In leather-coated heated luxury, with clear navigation and the DAB tuned to ‘Absolute 80’s’, the Discovery Sport had taken me straight to the destination with no fuss or drama. There was just one thing that bothered me.

Unusually, our Discovery Sport had been equipped with a 6-speed manual – an option that Land Rover says only 11% of customers have picked for 2019 model year cars. The alternative is a superb 9-speed automatic which should make driving in general more relaxing and smoother – it’s highly recommended. The manual here felt excellent in the hand but was far harder to use well in traffic due to powerful torque in 1st gear that, to be fair to Land Rover, would be most useful off-road.

From the pricing perspective of leasing, the Discovery Sport is a really tempting alternative to the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. Neither of those cars have two deployable seats in the rear, nor are they as competent off-road. Both, however, are more fun to drive on the road than the Discovery Sport. I suspect some Synergy customers will find the extra practicality and the way the Land Rover feels so equipped to take on the World a far more charming proposition, not to mention it has home team advantage here on our shores.


Aside from the manual gearbox, the Discovery Sport carried out tasks with absolute ease, totally passive to the conditions. In the rain, wind, and poor conditions we know so well here in Britain, the Discovery Sport feels like a cocoon of capability and luxury, and this is why we love Land Rover here in the UK. It’s at home in our environment, British in its character and highly unlikely to explode into a melodramatic monologue when the winter rolls in. If only Land Rover ran our newspapers…